On October 1, 1968, The Monkees were greeted rapturously as they arrived in Japan to perform a series of live concerts in that country for the very first time. One of these historic shows was filmed (most likely during the two day, three-concert stay at Budokan Hall in Tokyo on October 3 and 4, 1968) and later broadcast on Japanese television. The audio recording and video footage, however, has never been officially released. The audio (straight from the video) has long existed as a bootleg (complete with Japanese voice introductions before each song), but much to the chagrin of Monkees fans, the video footage is presumed lost or destroyed.
Monkees archivist Andrew Sandoval has confirmed that multiple attempts have been made to find the missing video footage. "It was definitely broadcast and there has been communication with TBS [Tokyo Broadcasting System] in Japan to retrieve anything they had," he wrote on Facebook in 2017. "We asked many times and have been told they have nothing. Unless they made a film print of the video, it is unlikely it survived."
I first acquired a cassette tape of this particular concert in the late 1980s that ultimately relayed a sprightly and resolute performance by The Monkees, exhibiting just how far these four individuals with disparate musical backgrounds had come to achieving a "group" sound in a relatively short amount of time.
For years, Monkees fans have clamored for some sort of official release of this concert, even if it was just the audio portion as it seems the video footage has seemingly been lost to time. In the latest twist of this long-sought after piece of Monkees history, Live Almanac contributor Justin Rakowski has commenced a project to restore the original Japanese concert bootleg. In an effort to present the cleanest audio possible while also removing the invasive voice introductions before every song, Justin has "demixed" the audio. For those that aren’t familiar with "demixing," Justin relayed some details to the Live Almanac. "It’s essentially the process of using specific programs that can run a algorithm on a mono track and separate out individual signals like vocals, guitars, bass, and drums," Justin said. "The inherent problem with the Japan concert is not only the mono mix but the narrator that talks over the beginning of each song."
Justin talked more about the challenges of his project. "Obviously the parts where the announcer talks is the hardest area to fix. It's easier when the announcer is not talking over The Monkees' performances. Even when there is commentary over the instrumental beginning of each song, I can remove the announcer, but the music underneath sounds like someone is playing with the volume knob so the music cuts in and out, leaving some bars with no recoverable information. So what I’ve done is flown in other parts of the song in to fix those areas."
And now, here are the initial results of Justin's experiment! While we're all doing our best to hunker down during this international health crisis, take a listen to Justin's work and keep your fingers crossed that the video of this concert finally emerges!
"Last Train to Clarksville" (Live in Japan 1968 - Stereo Demix)
"I Wanna Be Free" (Live in Japan 1968 - Stereo Demix)
"Johnny B. Goode" (Live in Japan 1968 - Stereo Demix)
"D.W. Washburn" (Live in Japan 1968 - Stereo Demix)
"It's Nice To Be With You" (Live in Japan 1968 - Stereo Demix)
"I'm a Believer" (Live in Japan 1968 - Stereo Demix)
"(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone" (Live in Japan 1968 - Stereo Demix)
"Salesman" (Live in Japan 1968 - Stereo Demix)
For "Salesman," Justin has offered up something special:
"Enjoy this 'what if' video using my newly demixed track of 'Salesman' synced up with edits of the 8mm Australia tour footage posted by Iain Lee's RareMonkees YouTube page."
Earlier this month, a teaser from the upcoming concert album The Mike & Micky Show Live arrived when "Last Train to Clarksville" was issued on YouTube, as a digital download, and via streaming services. And now, a live version of "The Door Into Summer," a classic track from The Monkees' fourth album Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd., has been released on all platforms. You can watch video of the performance below!
The Mike & Micky Show Live will be issued on compact disc and via streaming and digital services on April 3. A 2-LP vinyl edition is slated for release on May 15. You can pre-order now! And don't forget, in most markets, every ticket purchased for Michael and Micky's summer tour, "An Evening With The Monkees," includes your choice of a CD or digital copy of The Mike & Micky Show Live.
Produced by The Monkees' archivist Andrew Sandoval & mixed by Christian Nesmith, THE MONKEES – THE MIKE & MICKY SHOW LIVE was recorded live in March and June 2019. The collection includes performances of all three of the band’s #1 hits: "Last Train To Clarksville," "I'm A Believer," and "Daydream Believer."
In addition to those hits, the live album also spotlights many of Nesmith's finest compositions, including several songs that were never performed live during The Monkees' heyday, like "St. Matthew" and "Auntie's Municipal Court." Other Nesmith-penned tunes on the collection include live versions of "The Girl I Knew Somewhere," "Listen To The Band," "Papa Gene's Blues," "You Just May Be The One," and "You Told Me."
Dolenz takes the spotlight singing hits like "Pleasant Valley Sunday," "Randy Scouse Git," "Mary, Mary," "Goin' Down," "For Pete's Sake," and "As We Go Along." The collection also features live versions of "Me & Magdalena" and "Birth Of An Accidental Hipster" from The Monkees' most recent studio album, Good Times! (2016).
(Courtesy of Monkees.com)
The Mike & Micky Show Live will be released on compact disc and via streaming and digital services on April 3. A 2-LP vinyl edition arrives on May 15. In most markets, every ticket purchased for Michael and Micky's summer tour, "An Evening With The Monkees," includes your choice of a CD or digital copy of The Mike & Micky Show Live.
Monkees archivist and producer Andrew Sandoval stopped by Zilch to speak with host Ken Mills about The Mike & Micky Show Live. The podcast, featuring audio samples from the album, is linked below!
As a teaser for the upcoming concert album The Mike & Micky Show Live, a brand new video dropped today on The Monkees' official YouTube channel. Watch Michael Nesmith, Micky Dolenz, and their band as they perform The Monkees' 1966 chart-topper, "Last Train to Clarksville," recorded live in 2019. The performance has also been issued as a digital single and is available via streaming services like Spotify.
Micky Dolenz and Michael Nesmith concluded the most recent leg of "The Mike & Micky Show" tour with a sold-out performance in Sydney, Australia at the legendary Sydney Opera House. Thanks to Ashley Kate and Roger D on YouTube for providing these wonderful videos!
As an added bonus, here's Nez and the band performing a rendition of Michael's "Silver Moon" during soundcheck in Sydney:
Note: The set lists for the shows in Perth and Sydney were identical to the set performed in Melbourne.
Live at The Palais Theatre, Melbourne, Australia
Live at the Sydney Opera House, Sydney, Australia:
A big thanks to Sherri Hansen for sharing her wonderful footage from two stops on the just completed "Mike & Micky Show" US tour!
Thank you very much to Paul Iverson for sharing his footage from The Monkees' November 22, 1996 performance at the Rosemont Theatre in Rosemont, Illinois!
Last evening Michael Nesmith, Micky Dolenz, and their band brought "The Mike & Micky Show" to a packed house at The Beacon Theatre in New York City. Thanks a lot to Renny Simno for sharing his photos from the show:
Here's a photograph of the merchandise table at the Beacon. Most of the items that were previously sold during the June 2018 shows are still available:
Thanks also goes to Wis Byron for sharing his video and photos from New York City with the Live Almanac:
The set list:
And here's a sampling of videos from last night's performance in New York City courtesy of Paula Carabell and Otom Izot on YouTube:
Michael Nesmith, Micky Dolenz, and their band performed to a packed house this evening at the Beacon Theatre in New York City. Thanks to Jodi Ritzen for live streaming various portions of the show!
Thank you very much to Paul Iverson for sharing his footage from The Monkees' November 21, 1996 performance in Normal, Illinois!
In 1989, The Monkees returned to Europe for the first time since 1967 for a tour that brought a sell-out crowd to nearly every venue along with a huge wave of publicity surrounding their activities. Most of the shows centered around the United Kingdom with dates in England, Scotland, and Wales. A concert was also held in Amsterdam, Holland on April 21, portions of which were broadcast live on European radio. The Amsterdam show was also filmed and later screened on Holland television in May.
An acoustic set was a highlight of all of The Monkees' 1989 concerts in the UK, North America, and Japan. Listen below to Davy Jones take the lead on "When Love Comes Knockin' (At Your Door)" during the set while Peter Tork sings "Take a Giant Step."
Watch Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith, and their backing band perform The Monkees' classic "Circle Sky" during "The Mike & Micky Show" in 2018:
(Footage courtesy of Ed Heffelfinger)
On May 17, 1968, The Monkees finished their first and only motion picture, Head, with the filming of the "Circle Sky" concert scene in front of four thousand fans at the Valley Music Hall in Salt Lake City, Utah. They performed "Circle Sky" several times for the cameras and also did a handful of other special requests.
Patio Gardens, a venue housed inside the Farmington, Utah amusement resort Lagoon, was the original location for the filming of "Circle Sky." The venue was changed at the last minute to the Valley Music Hall in Salt Lake City for logistical reasons, despite fans already waiting in line at Patio Gardens. To make amends, The Monkees delivered a 30-minute set later that evening in front of a crowd of five thousand at Patio Gardens. This particular show was not filmed or recorded, and a setlist has yet to surface. The two Utah-based concerts in May 1968 would constitute the last live performances by all four Monkees in the United States until 1986.
This past November, the 50th anniversary of Head was commemorated at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood and featured special guests Micky Dolenz and Michael Nesmith. Monkees archivist and producer Andrew Sandoval hosted a Q&A session with Micky and Michael after the sold-out screening, which also included a slideshow created by Andrew that showcased photographs taken by legendary rock photographer Henry Diltz. The final part of the slideshow revealed many never before seen photos from The Monkees' performance at Lagoon's Patio Gardens, screenshots which can be seen below. (The slideshow can be viewed in its entirety at Michael Nesmith's Videoranch Facebook page.)
A special thanks goes to the Live Almanac's friends at Written In Our Hearts for inspiring this post based on screenshots they had previously shared from the Diltz slideshow!
The Monkees and their band performed "I'm a Believer" on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on June 17, 1996. Davy, Micky, and Peter spoke with Leno afterwards and announced the release of Justus, and promoted the start of their 30th Anniversary Tour.
The Monkees visited the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee when they were guests on the July 19, 1969 edition of The Johnny Cash Show. The trio sang Michael Nesmith's "Nine Times Blue" in an appearance that was filmed earlier that May. Micky, Davy, and Mike were later joined by Johnny for a comedic take of "Everybody Loves a Nut," originally featured on Cash's 1966 novelty album.
In early 1997, all four Monkees embarked on a tour of the United Kingdom to promote their 1996 album, Justus. Here's the complete concert from NYNEX Arena in Manchester, England on March 15, 1997:
The latest entry on The Monkees Live Almanac's YouTube channel is audio from the group's tour of Japan in 1968.
The Monkees visited Australia and Japan in September and October 1968. In Japan, one of the concerts was filmed (most likely during the two day, three concert stay at Budokan Hall in Tokyo on October 3 and 4, 1968) and later broadcast on Japanese television. The audio recording and video footage, however, has never been officially released. The audio (straight from the video) does exist as a bootleg, but the video footage is presumed lost or destroyed.
Monkees archivist Andrew Sandoval has confirmed that multiple attempts have been made to find the missing video footage. "It was definitely broadcast and there has been communication with TBS [Tokyo Broadcasting System) in Japan to retrieve anything they had," he wrote on Facebook in 2017. "We asked many times and have been told they have nothing. Unless they made a film print of the video, it is unlikely it survived."
Interestingly enough, in an earlier, separate video posting of "Cuddly Toy" from this same concert on the Live Almanac's YouTube channel, "Rock Channel Archives" left the following comment:
"The concert was videotaped and wasn't broadcast until Monkeemania hit for a 2nd time in 1983. After that one airing, the video tape was labeled "re-use" and has never been seen again. This according to Mr. Udo who is like the Dick Clark of Japan. This audio is a cassette copy from broadcast TV."
The comment above refers to the resurgence in popularity of The Monkees in Japan in the early 1980s. Japan experienced the first rebirth of The Monkees in the '80s even before Micky, Davy, and Peter reunited for the mega-successful 20th Anniversary Tour of North America in 1986. When "Daydream Believer" was used in a Kodak commercial in Japan in 1980, Monkeemania was rekindled as the television show returned to the airwaves and Monkees albums were reissued, causing them to chart in that country once again. Demand for The Monkees was so high in Japan in the early '80s that Micky, Davy, and Peter all toured the country individually between 1981 and 1982, playing to near-hysterical audiences.
If the comment left by Rock Channel Archives is indeed accurate, it could explain the origins of the Japanese 1968 audio, which has circulated throughout Monkees tape trading circles since the '80s. (I first acquired a copy from a tape collector in the late 1980s.)
Below is the audio recording of The Monkees live in Japan in 1968 that has survived, and please note there are breaks between each track:
An Evening With The Monkees 2020